Looking for a quick getaway for a couple days, we chose Picton in Prince Edward County (PEC) for a couple of reasons. We had friends and family that had visited and had a great time, the beautiful sunsets and lush vineyards on Instagram were a definite plus and it was only a few hours from home, and of course, wine! As we looked at a few destination stops, we were delighted to see how many craft breweries there were among the popular wineries.
We lucked out and found a Bed and Breakfast on short notice, it was also the first long weekend of the season. It was an awesome find – more on that on an upcoming post! Picton is a few hours away and it was a pretty straightforward drive on the highway. We arrived in town late Friday afternoon, checked into our place and since the sun was shining on what was supposed to be a rain filled weekend, we hit the first patio we found that was a few minutes away – 555 Brewing Co. We shared a table on the patio with a local resident – all the tables were full so we asked if we could join him, he was sitting alone at a four seater and we wanted to enjoy the sunshine. I’m not shy! He was happy for the company and told us he moved to PEC from Toronto and that he felt he had won the lottery, finding the slower pace a welcome relief from bustle of the big city. He was happy to share some of his favourite places as well.
555 Brewing Co
555 Brewing Co opened March 2017 and their brand and beers borrow from an infamous murder in the area in the late 19th century. It was believed that it was an intended robbery of $555 that was paid to a
farmer for a load of hops and an unfortunate guest of the intended target was shot and killed. The killer’s footprints were tracked in the snow and confusion ensued. It is believed that the wrong men were accused and hung for the crime. The beers are aptly named – “The Judge”, a helles lager, “The Jury”, a pale ale, “Footprint IPA” which was my fave, “County Secret” a cider infused with hops which is a collaboration between County Cider and 555. They even have “The Executioner”, “The Witness” and more. My
flight was a selection of six samples. Good stuff. Great story. The also serve wood fired pizza and it looked delicious. They have an onsite shop that sells merch, beer, as well as growler fills. Great place to relax on the patio, kids are welcome and they have a small area for kids to play while you relax with a flight.
Sandbanks Provincial Park
That evening our B&B host suggested we drive to Sandbanks Provincial Park and catch the sunset as it was likely our only evening we would see one. Our host purchases passes for her guests to use for the summer, another nice touch. We drove about 25 minutes from Picton, making note of a few wineries and stops to make, found the park and the beach – which is literally surrounded by sandbanks which we had to climb to get to the water. Incredibly steep!! Tip: there was a parking lot that had a cleared opening through the sandbanks where you could walk straight through if scaling a 70 degree incline of sand is not your thing!! Yes, we climbed that sandbank and yes, we had a good laugh when we noticed the clearing on the drive out!! How the hell did we miss it?? The
beautiful white sand beach was gorgeous. The sunset? Totally worth the climb! We will definitely make the trip back in warmer weather for a beach day. After climbing off our afternoon beers and on the recommendation of our new found patio friend, we headed to Wellington to visit Midtown Brewing for some more craft beers and a killer burger.
The town of Wellington has lots of quaint shops and restaurants. We arrived at Midtown Brewing a bit later and the taproom was packed. We opted to sit at the bar instead of waiting for a table. As a side note, I highly recommend doing this when
you are visiting a new city or town – sit at the bar if there is one. Usually the folks behind the bar live in the area and they are happy to offer their recommendations of places they like to go. Midtown Brewing is a newer brewery in PEC, opening in 2017. The menu definitely has some flare and they are not your standard pub plates. I wanted the mussels and the pea tartine caught my eye and I saw the east coast shrimp roll go by. Oh my. What to do?? I went with the burger as it came highly recommended and after battling sand dunes and the drive up the 401, we had developed a hearty appetite.
The burger did not fail to impress the hell out of us. The shoe string fries were to die for. Their secret is the 24 hour soak which removes excess
starch and stops them from sticking together when frying and clearly makes them highly addictive. You seriously need to try them. There is bar seating on either wall as well as plenty of table seating. Aside from a selection of their own beers, they also have guest taps from local breweries, cider options, a selection of local wines, as well as cocktails. The shop offers local meats and cheeses and veggies from local farmers as well as brewery merch and of course beer in cans and growler fills. Highly recommend you make this a stop on your PEC tour!!
Mother nature was true to her word and Saturday morning was drizzly and overcast. But the show must go on!! After a few winery stops, the
folks at Black Prince Winery recommended a stop at Barley Days Brewery, which we remembered seeing on our drive into town the day before. The oldest brewery in PEC, they opened their doors in 2007. The taproom is small and busy, but they have a patio out front and luckily the rain had stopped at this point. As an added bonus, Big Mike’s BBQ food truck was on site and the timing was perfect for a late lunch.
Another major bonus, some live music! A great blues duo entertained us as we ate a Big Mike’s Sammy of delicious smoked brisket, with coleslaw, housemade beans and pickles and sampled another flight of beers. Barley Days had 8 beers on tap and lots of fun beer related merchandise available for purchase as well as take away bottles.
There were several other breweries in PEC that we didn’t get to visit, so a return trip is in order that will include more wineries, more breweries, some beach time and some more local shopping. In order to cover all the bases, I recommend a full week in PEC. Picton seemed like a good central location but there are plenty of cottages, motels and hotels, AirBnb’s, Bed and Breakfasts and even camping at Sandbanks when it comes to looking for accommodations. Along with the missed breweries and wineries, there were several other dining recommendations that we just didn’t have time to fit in. But isn’t it always good to have something else to look forward to on a return visit? What’s your go to PEC brewery? Favourite pour? Drop me a line and let me know. Cheers to sharing plates and filling your glasses on your visit to Prince Edward County.
Until the next MTPlates post, eat well, drink well and laugh well…